During a recent “friendly” match against Brazil, Argentina’s Lionel Messi scored an impressive three goals to lead his country to victory over its South American rival. He played as though his reputation were at stake. In many regards, that was true. Soccer fans and sportswriters alike have criticized Messi’s international output, alleging the 24-year-old plays harder for his club team, Barcelona, than he does for his country. But in his last three international appearances for Argentina, Messi has been spectacular, scoring two hat tricks and increasing his goal tally to 26 in 70 matches. “[My parents], more than anyone else, know what I suffered in the national team during the bad times I went through,” Messi told reporters after the June 9 win over Brazil. “They were always by my side then, and now they are having as much fun as me.” This Saturday, Messi will head to Miami for the World Soccer Masters Tourat Sun Life Stadium (2269 Dan Marino Blvd., Miami Gardens). He’ll be joined by some of the most “distinguished” footballers in the world — Uruguay’s Diego Forlan, Brazil’s Dani Alves, and USA’s Carlos Bocanegra, to name few — for an all-star friendly coached by Fabio Capello and Dunga.
Sat., June 23, 7 p.m., 2012